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Why Christian Ramirez Should Lead the Line in 2017

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The case for re-signing CR21

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Sporting KC at Minnesota United Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

I still remember the first time I saw Christian Ramirez play. It was the 2014 season and star striker and last season’s leading scorer Pablo Campos went down with a knee injury. I was worried. Campos carried a big chunk of the team’s scoring burden. What would we do without our best forward? Where would the goals come from? And who the hell is this kid who’s filling in for Pablo? It would not take long before Christian made sure we all knew who he was.

Throughout the rest of that 2014 season, Ramirez would bang in 20 goals and tie the NASL single-season goal scoring record. He added an additional five assists that season, meaning Ramirez had a hand in over half of the team’s 47 goals that season.

A burgeoning relationship with winger Miguel Ibarra brought the best out of both players as United began putting teams to the sword. The front three of Daniel Mendes, Ibarra, and Ramirez racked up 37 goals between them; more goals than half of the teams in the division managed all season.

Christian took us from being unsure over our striking situation to feeling that our future was in good hands with the young Californian sharpshooter in a matter of months. He won the 2014 NASL Golden Boot while having an astonishing 8 more goals then the runner up.

While the 12 goals Ramirez tallied in 2015 were only good enough for second place in the Golden Boot race, he still managed to reach an important career milestone: On August 8th of 2015, Christian Ramirez scored his 27th goal in the black and blue of Minnesota United, making him the leading scorer in franchise history.

Last season Ramirez was back in familiar territory as he snagged another Golden Boot with 18 goals despite his team barely missing out on the playoffs. In his career thus far, Ramirez has 51 goals from 90 matches, meaning he scores more than a goal every-other game.

For all intents and purposes, Christian has been a United player his whole pro career; he’d previously played for the Orange County Blue Stars in the fourth-tier, but we were his first “big” club. And in return, he has given us a half-century of goals and two Golden Boots en route to becoming our franchise leading scorer in just three years. Plus, he’s still only 25.

We gave Christian a shot in 2014 and he responded by tying the league’s goal scoring record. Now that we’re facing a new challenge heading in to 2017, I think he’s earned another chance to show us that he can make the next step.